While the Accidental Locavore and her husband were in Nice, we had to taste almost every piece of cheese or charcuterie that we saw. One of the highlights from Lou FroumaÁ¯, a great new shop, was a piece of what they called smoked pork filet mignon. It was unbelievably good! My husband gave me a week to recreate it at home, so I went right to work. I used my electric smoker for this.
For the brine:
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- Chopped garlic (optional)
- 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence (optional)
- 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 ½ pounds)
In a large pot (tall and deep is good), add the water, salt, sugar, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer and stir to make sure all the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Put the pork tenderloins in the cooled brine, weigh down with a plate, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the pork from the brine, and rinse it off really well (otherwise it will be salty). Pat dry with paper towels. Place on the lower rack of an electric smoker and smoke for 4 hours. Remove from the smoker, let cool, serve thinly sliced and enjoy!
My verdict: For a (jet-lagged) first attempt, this was pretty good! Of course, I suspect the French have better pigs, so it’s probably time to go hunting for some heritage hogs. I used hickory to smoke the tenderloins and it seemed to work well; next time I might try it with some apple. We’ve just been eating it sliced thinly, occasionally with a bit of coarse mustard and some cornichons. I brought it to a party the other night and it was a big hit! Don’t you think that it would make great sandwiches, eggs Benedict, pasta carbonara — acting like a cross between bacon and ham. Use your imagination and give it a try!